Friday, January 20, 2012

A Female Voice

I've always felt the most important support person in a room is the dad.  But one thing they can't bring to the support is a "female voice".

Why does that seem so important?  Moms in labor can feel very isolated and although they need reassurance and guidance, there are times when they need a female voice.  Your husband saying "you'll be okay" does not have the same impact as a woman who has been through labor who says "you'll get through this - it'll be okay". Could be compared to you and your husband backpacking on your own into an isolated area - versus having a trained guide helping you navigate the path.

This does not discount the need for reassurance from the dad - not at all - but having a female voice can be that added support that helps a mom over the rough spots.

Does it matter who the female voice is?   Henci Goer in "The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth" put up a comparison chart of labor support from a female relative or friend or a doula.   One of her comparisons is that a female relative or friend "may have beliefs and experiences with labor that may color her behavior and bias her advice".  However, a doula "knows you but the fact that you have no ongoing relationship means you don't have to perform for her or worry about what she might think of you."  Also a doula "knows about labor, techniques to promote good progress, and comfort measures. She can help facilitate communication between you and your caregivers.  She too provides a loving touch."  Of course, some relatives or friends can provide great support, and a female voice. You know best who you want to provide support during this journey.

So when you are planning your birth team - give consideration to a female voice, along with your husband.  And talk to other families who have added a doula to their birth team and listen to their experiences.   Here's hoping the voices you hear in labor will guide you to a wonderful experience.